USMC Task Force “Violent”: A Tale of Betrayal and Redemption


MARSOC’s (U.S. Marine Special Operations Command) first foray into Afghanistan in 2006 resulted in their removal from the entire combat theatre after their first major combat operation. Essentially they were kicked OUT of a war for being umm… how do we say “too violent”?

After years of recriminations and investigations, and a concerted attempt to portray them as “war criminals” by a Taliban sympathetic media, their name has finally been cleared.

On March 4, 2007, less than a month after arriving in country, 30 men with Fox Company’s direct-action platoon were riding in a six-vehicle convoy that was ambushed while patrolling in the Bati Kot district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, a nefarious transfer point for suicide bombers and other extremists entering the country from Pakistan. Media reports about the incident seemed to surface before the smoke had cleared and the shell casings were collected. And it seemed to leave little doubt that the Marines went on a wild rampage, inflicting mass civilian casualties.

Within days, Fox Company was ordered out of the war zone under a cloud of shame.

Media coverage from the court of inquiry was restricted by the military, with much of the testimony taking place behind closed doors to guard against the disclosure of classified information, officials explained at the time. As a consequence, an incomplete narrative would emerge. Marine Corps Times, for example, published a cover story in February 2008 boasting of hidden details about the “meltdown” within Task Force Violent and the “cowboys” who shamed the Corps — a characterization that has proven unfair and untrue.

Part 1 of a 5-part series